Convincing faculty about the importance of the affective domain


Jennifer Husman, Todd Zakrajsek, Kelly Rocca

At this conference, we are recognizing some of the research on the affective domain and its importance, but not all professors recognize the importance of this domain. The lack of professors utilizing this domain can be problematic, and we'd like to work on the resolution of this.

The problem is multi-faceted: Professors may believe they are "only there to teach" and the students are "there to learn" and it is not the professor's responsibility to worry about motivating them or making them feel good about learning. Possibly, students don't have the ability to succeed, so why should a professor try to motivate students who have the potential to fail? Shifting from a teacher-centered viewpoint to a student-centered one moves the responsibility to ensure that learning occurs from the student to the teacher. When a student fails, it is no longer the student's fault, and the failure becomes ego-involved for the professor.

Another issue is that many feel that emotion is not supposed to be part of science. Stereotypically, the only appropriate emotion is the "joy" that comes from "the inherent beauty of science." How do we convince professors that they need to bring back a construct that they have been trained to rid themselves of?


Al Werner, Bosiljka Glumac, and Lisa Gilbert

Potential solutions to the dilemma of convincing faculty on the importance of the affective domain:

  • Acknowledgement that students as learners change and that an important part of our jobs as instructors is to keep up with this change
  • When classes don't go well, we need to seek out solutions in multiple domains
  • One-on-one discussions with colleagues regarding affective-related solutions to problems
  • Showing by example
  • Faculty teaching lunches
  • At start of a faculty's career, facilitate an on-the-cutting edge session on the affective domain
  • Directing colleagues to the SERC website and other resources

Convincing faculty about the importance of the affective domain  

Hi; I'm a nurse educator interested in discussing the affective domain with other educators. It seems to me that the affective domain is essential in order to teach adult learners because, according to Knowles, adults will never attend to what they don't think is important. Motivation is everything and we get nowhere without it. Suggestions about techniques are welcome!


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